BEIJING — A U.S. mercenary group with ties to the United Arab Emirates has signed a deal to build a training center in China where up to 1 million Muslims are reportedly being held in detention camps, according to the Middle East Monitor.
The Muslims are of the Uighur minority, a community of Turkic people who live throughout East and Central Asia.
The mercenary group was identified as Frontier Services Group, a Hong King-listed security firm founded by Erik Prince. Prince is the former founder of Blackwater, the private military contractor that conducted controversial and deadly operations in Iraq.
Prince was also employed by the UAE in the late 2000s to build up a mercenary army, the article said.
His former group Blackwater was forced to relocate from the United States to Abu Dhabi after its role in Iraq, where the group killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007, the report said.
The new deal would allow for training centers to take root in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims are reportedly being held in indoctrination camps, which have been condemned worldwide, including by U.S. leaders.
Prince, a former Navy Seal officer, was said to have been part of a secret meeting between the UAE, Russia and an ally of President Trump, which was investigated by the FBI, the report continued.
Through a spokesman, Prince, who is a minority shareholder and deputy chairman of FSG, said he was unaware of the deal, which would need to be signed off on by all of the group’s board members before its final approval.
According to a report from the New York Times, the Uighurs are being indoctrinated with propaganda on how to be “law abiding citizens” in the camps and how to embrace Communist Party ideology. They are also reportedly being put to work in the region’s factories as well, where textile production is prevalent.